Gee, and we're getting double dose of Hungry Ghosts coming up
May was not such a good month for most Malaysians - what with the rise in electricity tariffs and further tightening of their already suffocating belts.
And June isn't any better with all sorts of dirt being flung around. The s***ty mess left behind can still be smelled for miles around, in fact, polluting our neighbouring country's media so much that they had to add extra sheets to accommodate the hungry appetite for more juicy entertaining stuff churned out by our very own cast of clowns and sidekicks.
Pressures have been steadily building up, with the occasional letting off some steam by third class acts from certain one-eyed and Bung-ling MPs. But of course, we are not fooled. We are still transfixed by the fools around us, missing or is it trying to pull wool over our eyes so that we can't tell the trees from the forest?
Today's the last day of June.
But, bet you that it's not going to get any better in July. The show is going to get steamier and scarier ...
And why, you ask?
we will be getting a double dose of the dreaded Chinese Hungry Ghosts Festival (the 7th lunar month in the Chinese calendar) this year. The Chinese calendar's seventh month starts on 25th July.
According to Chinese folklore, for one long lunar month during the Hungry Ghosts Festival, ghosts are said to roam the earth. If you pay careful attention, you will notice small roadside fires, where certain serious adherents and nominal believers of Taoism burn paper money, joss-sticks and other offerings to appease the restless spirits.
According to this website, the ghostly aspect of the seventh month emerged from the Taoist concept of hell.
Imprisoned in its lowest reaches, the ghosts may leave hell only with special permission of its king. This privilege would be granted only if the ghost receives no offerings to provide for its welfare, and therefore must return to the living to take what it can. The numbers permitted to leave are restricted.
Buddhism incorporated the Taoist hell into the tradition of the seventh month, known as U-lan-p’en, derived from the Sanskrit uvulambana, signifying the emptying out of hell, as one empties a bowl by turning it upside down.
The Taoist version favored the term P'u-tu, signifying a crossing over, or a general amnesty for the souls of the dead in hell.
This amnesty commences on the first day and the ghosts look for whatever food they may find. On the 15th day, the feeding of the souls is attended to and each family offers a banquet for the ghosts. By the 30th day the ghosts must return to hell.
But as it would be dangerous to allow a beggar into one's home, the same holds true for ghosts. So offerings are made on tables outside the home. Offerings usually consist of whole cooked fowl and large pieces of meat and delicacies. Other attractive items such as beer, cigarettes and washing implements are left out for the homeless ghosts to use.
And in this article from Tourism Penang, PHOR THOR: The Hungry Ghosts it was mentioned that during the “Hungry Ghost Month” children and young toddlers are kept inside, especially at night, for fear of them being led away by the “Hungry Ghosts”.
Having a wedding or moving house is considered bad luck and going to the beach and swimming is discouraged because many tragedies have taken place in the sea, and evil ghosts may be eager to take more lives! The 30th day of the seventh moon is the last day of the festival. At midnight, the ghosts return to Hell and the gates are shut after them. Paper offerings and other goods are burnt in a giant bonfire as a final gift.
So, just a little reminder here folks.
The Hungry Ghosts month is going to run from 25th July to 23rd August 2006 and because this year is a double-7 year in the Chinese lunar calendar, the Festival will be extended until 21 September 2006!
Don't say you have not been warned ...